Philip Roth, American Pastoral
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997
…the angry, rebarbative spitting-out daughter with no interest whatever in being the next successful Levov, flushing him out of hiding as if he were fugitive—initiating the Swede into the displacement of another America entirely, the daughter and the decade blasting to smithereens his particular form of utopian thinking, the plague America infiltrating the Swede’s castle and there infecting everyone. The daughter who transports him out of the longed-for American pastoral and into everything that is its antithesis and its enemy, into the fury, the violence, and the desperation of the counterpastoral—into the indigenous American berserk. 
“History is a nightmare I am trying to protect my family from. No, I don’t even know history, I don’t even know about Vietnam, superficially, yes, as long as it doesn’t trouble me.” But it troubled Seymour Levov’s teen-age daughter Merry to the point where she became an activist and a terrorist, blowing up a post office and country store, killing a doctor. This act– “A bomb tells the whole fucking story”—changes the cozy and bourgeois life of Swede and Dawn Levov forever. They both go on to have affairs, Dawn has a face-lift and wants to forget, naturally, it’s hard waking up to the thought that you gave birth to a murderer; Swede cannot forget, and this book is Roth’s Nathan Zuckerman’s imaginative and sympathetic rendering/account of what their lives must have been like. Early on, then, Zuckerman as character fades away and is replaced by a strong narrator, omniscient and wondering still, how could the Swede—all-American, fortune-blessed—end up this way. Hence the last lines of the book:
Yes, the breach had been pounded in their fortification, even out here in secure Old Rimrock, and now that it was opened it would not be closed again. They’ll never recover. Everything is against them, everyone and everything that does not like their life. All the voices from without, condemning and rejecting their life!
And what is wrong with their life? What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?